Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn will be aligned and most visible in the night sky on June 24. But, now, what are the effects of this ‘parade of the planets’ on our Earth and its geology… Is yesterday’s deadly Afghanistan earthquake or the ongoing swarm in Long Valley caldera linked to this celestial phenomenon?
Five planets will grace the night sky this month as it’ll mark the first time such an alignment visible to the naked eye has happened in nearly two decades.
The Farmer’s Almanac said, along with the crescent Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn will be aligned and the most visible on June 24. This marks the first time since December 2004 that something such as this will be witnessed by humans.
The planets can be seen as soon as June 10, although some may still be tough to see until the later date. They can all be seen where the sun is rising, just before the sun starts to light up the entire sky, according to EarthSky. Binoculars can help, but astronomers say the planets should be easily seen with the naked eye.
Even with city lights, the planets should be seen, according to NASA astronomer Michelle Thaller.
The “parade of planets” can be seen in the dawn hours June 24 at around 4:20 a.m. (or 30 minutes before sunrise) in the southern and eastern sky. They will also be lined up in their true order from the Sun: Mercury, Venus, the Moon, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.
Viewers will have “about an hour” to take in the clear alignment before “the Sun washes Saturn out of the sky.”
Astronomer Gary Seronik told the Farmer’s Almanac that stargazers will have to wait until 2040 to see a similar arrangement grace the skies.
Effects of planetary alignment on earthquake and volcanic activity
Several recent studies have found a correlation between earth tides (caused by the position of the moon relative to the earth) and some types of earthquakes.
One study, for example, concludes that during times of higher earth and ocean tides, such as during times of full or new moon, earthquakes are more likely on shallow thrust faults near the edges of continents and in (underwater) subduction zones.
Lunar or solar eclipses represent, of course, special cases of full and new moon, but do not cause any special or different tidal effects from full and new moon.
Earth tides (Earth’s surface going up and down by a couple of centimeters) and especially ocean tides (surface of the ocean going up and down by a meter or more) raise and lower the confining pressure on shallow, dipping faults near continental edges and in subduction zones.
When the confining pressure is lessened, the faults are unclamped and more likely to slip. The increased probability is a factor of ~3 during high tides. But you must stop and realize that the background probability is, in general, very low in a given place and year (fractions of a percent), so that raising this tiny probability by a factor of 3 during high tides still results in a very tiny probability.
There have also been some small but significant correlations reported between the semi-diurnal tides and the rate of occurrence of aftershocks in some volcanic regions, such as Mammoth Lakes.
The moon, sun, and other planets have an influence on the earth in the form of perturbations (small changes) to the gravitational field. The relative amount of influence is proportional to the objects mass, and inversely proportional to the third power of its distance from the earth.
The stresses induced in the earth by an extraterrestrial mass are proportional to the gravitational field gradient and NOT to the gravitational field.
Earthquakes and volcano eruptions could be caused by the movement of our planets, a controversial book claimed in 1974.
A 1974 book The Jupiter Effect suggested the alignment of planets could trigger apocalyptic catastrophes across the globe – from the ‘Big One’ earthquake on California’s San Andreas Fault to successive volcanic eruptions.
Written by John Gribbin and Stephen Plagemann, the text argued that every 179 years, an approximate alignment of the planets take place – and in turn, sparks major changes to the Earth.
The authors argued the San Andres Fault, in particular, was already strained and ready to rupture.
And they claimed the whole causal chain on the next planetary alignment, which would have been in 1982, would come into play and result in huge earthquakes.
But no earthquake ever happened. Their apocalyptic forecast for 1982 never happened.
Finall, another scientific study shows a clear trend between planetary alignments and the probability of large earthquakes around the world…
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